The Waiting Room

Warren stared down at his form, blankly. He had no idea how to answer questions like, “what is your ideal career?”, or “do you prefer warmer or cooler climates?” Nor did he want to. The truth is, he didn’t much mind being dead, and Limbo suited him well. He wasn’t sure he even wanted to move on, let alone sure he knew where he wanted to go.

But those were the rules. If you were chosen to be a Watcher, you had to go back to somewhere and be someone (covertly).

“Excuse me,” Warren hailed the receptionist but she made an obvious effort to ignore him, again.

He released a sigh of defeat and lowered his eyes back to the form. His number, 057, was fast approaching; once it was called he would have to have some real answers and make some real decisions. The pressure was unbearable. Warren had always had a proclivity towards procrastination and indecisiveness. How had the elders decided he would be a good Watcher? It didn’t seem like his thing.

He had had a comfortable life before the accident. He had managed a meat factory – okay, that wasn’t entirely true. He was the second assistant, but often enough he’d be left in charge. He didn’t have to do much though; in fact, it was an accepted truth that he was only given the promotion to acknowledge his sixteen years of loyal meat-packing service. It was fitting that he had fallen into the meat-grinder and died six months later. The job had consumed his life.

But Limbo was very nice. It was quiet, and polite. Warren liked it.

He looked up. The screen read 038.

Okay, first question: What is your favorite pastime? Button Collecting Bird watching.

‘More outdoorsy.’ Warren smiled, satisfied with his creative response. ‘I always wished I was a bit more outdoorsy.’

What is your favourite season? Summer.

That was a lie. Warren liked Late Fall best because the chill in the air was a good excuse to spend his nights inside. But summer was more suitable for bird watching.

What is your favourite movie?

Warren thought long and hard, rapping his pen against his temple. What was the last movie he had seen? He thought his favourite movie of all time might be something with Indiana Jones, but he couldn’t recall which ones he had seen and which ones he hadn’t. Warren straightened his glasses, an excuse to raise his hand to his brow and discreetly wipe away the sweat.

044.

His heart rate increased as he scribbled down his answer: Indiana Jones. ‘Vague yet direct. All of them, or the most famous one. They’ll get it…’

Warren continued to forge his way through the questionnaire and was nearly done when a new woman entered the waiting room and took a seat next to him. She was beautiful, even though her right arm was severed clean off.

“Lawnmower” she sang out to Warren when she caught him gawking. She didn’t seem offended, at all.

“O-Oh, Oh I’m sorry.” He looked away, blushing.

“You?” She asked through a wide smile.

“Meat Grinder,” he replied, pointing to his bad side. His left arm was mostly gone, the left side of his torso ripped apart, and his left thigh looked as though it had been chomped into.

“I would have guessed shark,” she chuckled flirtatiously.

Warren laughed along nervously. The sweat was streaming now.

“So, where are you off to?” he asked.

“Hawaii, I think. It should suit my free-spirit.”

“Oh? Do you surf?”

“Well, no. I was something of a recluse in my past life. But I’m planning to rebuild my image.”

Warren smiled, and jotted down his final answer. Hawaii, it would be.

Shyla Fairfax-Owen ©

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5 thoughts on “The Waiting Room

  1. I like the style of your writing – most of what I’ve sampled tonight has that great undertone of very dark humour which appeals to me. Looking forward to reading more. It’s not easy to give a very short piece a sense of completeness and leave some questions hanging but you managed it here – good stuff!

    Like

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